Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


Along with most other colleges and universities, Oral Roberts University faces problems and challenges of, serving a heterogeneous population with multi-levels of cognition and development. The adoption of special support programs to increase academic competence of a diverse and complex student population has become a necessity. The purpose of this study was to develop, implement in a compressed block of time, and evaluate a one-unit course of study designed to assist college students to improve their skills in responding to the extended-essay test question. The study addressed three research questions: 1. Can a course of study be developed which is effective in teaching students strategies for effectively responding to the extended-essay question? 2. Will students be able to make significant improvement in extended-answer essay test-taking by application of these strategies? 3. Can these strategies for responding effectively to the extended-essay test question be taught adequately in a one-unit course, presented in a compressed block of time sandwiched into students' regular programs of study? Forty-two education majors at Oral Roberts University who were enrollee in Education 302 entitled Foundations of Reading and Language Development were subjects of this study; The experimental group was twenty students whose schedule allowed them to enroll in the one unit course of this study. The control group consisted of the remaining 22 students enrolled in Education 302. Three areas of study were developed in the one-unit course on the extended-essay question: 1. The first area focused on the cognitive processes as identified by Bloom (Bloom, Engelhart, Furst, Hill and Krathwohl, 1956). 2. The second are addressed specific verbs which expressed the cognitive task. 3. The third area consisted of strategies for answering the extended-essay question. The course of study on the extended-essay question was applied to the experimental group. The evaluation of the course was carried out in two procedures: 1. A pretest/posttest designed to assess mastery of the experimental group. 2. A quasi-experimental study made of mean scores of the experimental and control groups on a regular course essay test. Hypotheses were formulated and tested with .05 as the acceptable probability level. The results of the study indicate significant differences between the mean scores of the pretest and the posttest of the experimental group. The results additionally indicate that there was a significant difference between the mean scores of the experimental group and the control group on a regular essay test. The results, therefore, gave an affirmative answer to the research questions of this study. A secondary finding of the study indicated that it was possible to identify the extent to which the application of this course caused growth in specific areas of the coursework. The greatest instructional strength occurred in the area of application of strategies for answering the essay-question. The second strongest instructional outcome was in the development of broad concepts in the area of cognitive processing. The area of weakest gain was in the determination of level of difficulty of cognitive tasks as expressed in specific verbs. One area showed loss. That was the area of identification of the cognitive tasks inherent in specific verbs. A residual finding of the study indicated that the compressed time block utilized for the one unit course application provided some desirable outcomes in the affective domain. Long periods of uninterrupted learning were favorably evaluated by subjects. Three recommendations were made as a result of this study. These were: 1. More research is needed to confirm the findings as typical of postsecondary students. 2. The one unit course developed in this research project be incorporated in the regular course offerings of the Oral Roberts University, as well as into its special support programs. 3. Variations of time sequencing be scheduled for the presentation of this one unit course, making it adaptable to a more extended time frame.

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